Growing as much of your own food as possible is part of a more organic, minimalist life. It can be a daunting prospect when you start living more mindfully, however. You may have no experience in gardening, or a shortage of yard space.
Herbs are a wonderful way to start this adventure. You can use them to add fresh, healthy flavours to your food, while avoiding the carbon footprint of store-bought dried versions. Their biggest bonus is that they’re so easy to grow, either in beds outside, or even in pots on your windowsill.
Here is a list of 10 to try, for starters:
Mint is better grown in pots; it tends to be invasive in a garden plot. Both peppermint and spearmint do well in moist soil on a windowsill. Peppermint has a more intense mint taste, so you can use less each time you harvest it.
Lemongrass, like mint, propagates easily. A store-bought stalk with an intact based, trimmed of the top leaves and placed in water, should root and produce more shoots rapidly. You can then pot it.
Thyme roots well from cuttings, and you can grow it in small pots. Lemon thyme is a zesty variant, but all thyme varieties need plenty of light.
Chives are easy to grow from seeds, or you can pull out a bunch, including roots, from an established plant and repot it. It can grow in full sun or with less light, but it does like plenty of water.
This versatile herb is best grown from seeds, but you need to soak them for 24 hours first, to encourage germination. Once it sprouts, it needs very little maintenance, but grows slowly, so harvest lightly at first.
Very simple to grow from cuttings, upright versions of rosemary like Tuscan Blue are best for indoor potting. It prefers fairly dry soil, so don’t overwater it.
Basil likes full sun out of the wind, and although it’s a little harder to grow than many other herbs, its versatile flavour makes it worth the effort. A smaller variety like Spicy Globe is easier to control in a windowsill pot.
Seeds, cuttings or division are all excellent ways to propagate oregano. It needs six to eight hours of sun a day, so pick a well-lit windowsill, such as one you enjoy sitting in, relaxing and playing the online Bingo NZ offers. When plants get to around 10cm tall, pinch off the top growing tips and you’ll encourage more branches lower down.
This is one herb that is much better used fresh, rather than dried. It can grow into large trees outdoors, but makes an attractive bush in a pot. Without regular pruning it can grow out of control, though, so harvest regularly. It likes lots of light, so if you can, place the pot outside on warm summer days.
Cuttings from the growing tips of an existing plant are a simple way to grow sage; also one of the easiest herbs to grow in a window pot. It prefers a sunny area and fertile, well-drained soil. Don’t overwater, and pick leaves often to encourage new growth.